8 votes

CN - Dubuque Bridge


Overview Looking East

The swing span, normally parked in the open position, is on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River.

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in March 2011

BH Photo #195531

Street View 


Mississippi River crossing on BNSF Railway, Canadian National Railway in Dubuque
East Dubuque, Dubuque County, Iowa, and Jo Daviess County, Illinois
Open to railroad traffic
Swing Span Built 1892, Approach Spans Built 1899; Bridge Strengthened 2012/13
- American Bridge Works of Chicago, Illinois (Approach Span)
- Keystone Bridge Co. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Swing Span)
- BNSF Railway (BNSF)
- Canadian National Railway (CN)
- Chicago Great Western Railway (CGW)
- Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad (CBQ)
- Illinois Central Railroad (IC; ICG (1972-1988))
Parker Through Truss approach spans with pratt swing span.
Length of largest span: 350.0 ft.
Total length: 1,560.0 ft.
Also called
IC Bridge #W182
IC - Dubuque Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.49854, -90.65003   (decimal degrees)
42°29'55" N, 90°39'00" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/693097/4707806 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Dubuque South
590 ft. above sea level
Inventory number
BH 41902 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • November 14, 2021: Updated by John Marvig: added swing span builder
  • May 21, 2018: New photos from John Marvig
  • July 19, 2017: Updated by Christopher Finigan: Added category "Pin-connected"
  • October 8, 2013: New Street View added by J.P.
  • August 13, 2013: New photos from John Marvig
  • January 10, 2013: New photos from John Marvig
  • January 2, 2013: Updated by John Marvig: added update-parker spans are being rehabbed significantly
  • December 10, 2012: Updated by John Marvig: added additional build dates
  • September 20, 2012: Updated by John Marvig: Added information
  • July 30, 2012: Photo imported by Luke Harden
  • July 8, 2012: New photos from Quinn Phelan
  • April 27, 2012: Updated by Daniel Hopkins: Added category "Railroad"
  • April 26, 2012: New photos from Steve Conro
  • March 23, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Added categories "Illinois Central Railroad", "Chicago Great Western Railway"
  • March 20, 2011: Updated by J.R. Manning: Fixed typo in name
  • November 24, 2009: Updated by Curtis Lee: Updated several entries
  • March 29, 2009: Added by Kim Harvey

Related Bridges 



CN - Dubuque Bridge
Posted May 21, 2018, by John Marvig (marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com)

This is actually an interesting rehabilitation. It did not eliminate any significant historical components, while strengthening the bridge for years to come:


Dubuque Rail Bridge
Posted January 3, 2013, by John Marvig (johnmarvig [at] chaska [dot] net)

Reconstructing the eastern most span. Currently, after reviewing photos, it appears that the three western spans and the eastern span will have been reconstructed, with the swing span and the span directly west of the swing span being spared for now.

Dubuque Rail Bridge
Posted January 2, 2013, by John Marvig (johnmarvig [at] chaska [dot] net)

Well UP is talking about tearing down the Clinton bridge (even the side channel bridges) and a bridge in St. Paul, CP wants the bridge at La Crosse, WI gone, and the Sabula Rail Bridge. BNSF already took out the old Burlington Bridge.

Point is, class 1 railroads have a really bad history of destroying history, especially up in the midwest. Amazing UP would even have considered bulldozing that historic bridge in Eau Claire, WI.

I'm actually gonna go out on thin ice here and give CN credit for not completely removing the bridge. Keeping the frames and deck, as well as the connections is one of the more interesting things. It just makes you ask "why?"

But I will continue to watch the situation. I'll hope the best for this bridge

Dubuque Rail Bridge
Posted January 2, 2013, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Canadian National would bulldoze the Pyramids of Egypt if they were in their way.

Dubuque Rail Bridge
Posted January 2, 2013, by John Marvig (johnmarvig [at] chaska [dot] net)

Look at the pictures of the westernmost span. Now look at these pictures.

The one thing that stands out to me on this bridge is the chords. The parker spans are cool, but some have much heavier bracing.

While looking further into it, I found that this is because Canadian National is cutting out the diagonal bracing of the old spans and replacing it with new bracing of the same pattern, only with plates connecting it in the middle.

So see the remaining original spans while you can. This could be part of a larger project, similar to the bridge at Burlington. There have been talks of replacing the swing span with a lift span....